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Evidence-Based Practice: Web Resources

Evaluating Health Information

EBP Calculators

Useful links

Glossary of terms

  • Case study
    A publication that describes a single person, group, situation, or event.


  • Review article
    Article or publication which provides an overview or summary of a specific topic by examining the published literature on the topic. See the Literature Reviews LibGuide for different styles and types of reviews.


  • Critical appraisa
    A short summary of a specific topic from the literature, created to answer a specific clinical question.


  • Cohort study 
    Study in which a defined population is followed over a long period of time to compare one or more variables' correlation to the outcome of interest. An example would be to look at ISU college freshmen and follow them over time, looking at specific variables or interventions and their resulting effect.


  • Case-control study 
    Study which compares a group of research subjects with the outcome of interest to an appropriate control group without the outcome of interest. The proportion of each group having a history of one or more particular attributes or variables of interest is then compared. A case-control study looks at a population now and then examines its history to look at the presence (or not) of variables of interest by comparing to the control group.


  • Guideline
    Practice guidelines are statements or other indications of policy or procedure for standards of care or practice based upon the best available level of evidence. Health fields often refer to "clinical practice guidelines." Guidelines are often created by an expert consensus group based on rigorous analysis of existing evidence.



  • Randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT) 
    Study in which the research subjects are randomly divided into an experimental and a control group. The experimental group is exposed to the variable of interest and the control group is not. The results are compared.


  • Review
    Summary or overview of a topic that does not necessarily include all research studies and does not necessarily use a systematic method to collect the research studies.


  • Systematic Review 
    A study which uses rigorous, standardized methods for selecting and assessing all relevant research studies on a specific topic.  A systematic review does not include a quantitative summary of the results.


  • Meta-analysis 
    A systematic study which uses rigorous, standardized methods to identify and evaluate all relevant prior studies on a specified topic according to a predetermined and explicit method. A statistical aggregation and analysis is then performed to combine the results of these studies to determine whether significant trends can be found. A meta-analysis includes a quantitative summary of the results.


  • Qualitative Meta-Synthesis 
    A review of studies that combines a number of qualitative studies based on a preestablished set of selection criteria and systematic appraisal of study quality.